Reverse Racism (but not really)

My friend Matt and I were chatting the other day and the subject of being treated differently because we’re white came up. As members of the majority in the US, we didn’t have much experience being the outsider and visibly different from the norm (except for that summer I spent living in Harlem). Here in Nicaragua we’re referred to as ‘cheles’ or ‘white dudes’ by passersby and anyone else trying to get our attention. Some stereotypes that are automatically applied to us:

We’re white, so we must be rich.

We’re white, so we must be tourists.

We’re white, so we probably know other famous white people, like Justin Bieber.

We’re white, so we can answer questions about what other white people are like. (“Why are white people so cheap?” “Why do white people smell bad?”)

We’re from the US, so we must be from New York, Miami, or Los Angeles. (“Is Wisconsin in California?”)

Now, my titling this post ‘reverse racism’ was a bit tongue-in-cheek because these assumptions about us are minor annoyances or amusements, depending on the day, but not hindrances or insults. I think true racism requires a negative connotation based on your appearance or perceived heritage. I cannot truly claim to be a victim of racism because I’m part of the dominant power structure. I don’t have to contend with stereotypes of poverty, inferiority, or violence. In some small way my being stereotyped in little ways does make me more aware of the assumptions that are made about people perceived to be outsiders, but I still have to recognize that being treated differently because I’m white is a qualitatively different experience than being treated differently as a historically marginalized minority.

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One response to this post.

  1. Our ego discriminates but not our Higher Selves. You seem to be blessed with a good sense of discernment. Have a great day! 🙂

    Reply

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